Blood sport!

CON GRIWKOWSKY, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 1:15 PM ET

Bloody elle!

Cathy King knew she's be in for a tough battle. Little did she know that after it was over, she'd look like she'd just danced through a few rounds of Ultimate Fighting.

"It was a brawl out there," joked King, dabbing at the blood running down her nose after doing a face plant on the ice.

King had just beaten Atina Johnston 6-5 in the A Event qualifier of the women's northerns.

It was another mission accomplished for King, who now gets a chance to defend her 2006 Alberta title and go for her eighth overall, starting in Grande Prairie Jan. 24.

At last month's Canada Cup qualifier in Ottawa, King had maneuvered her team into the No. 5 overall spot. If she hangs on to that ranking, that could qualify each member of the team for $16,000 annual Sports Canada funding.

Must be things were going just a shade too well.

King did not have to throw her last rock in yesterday's win, so the team tried a re-enactment of what would have happened if the rock was thrown.

"I leaned on my left foot a bit and slipped," said King. "All I know is I saw the ice coming up pretty fast to my face."

The nose rest on her glasses dug in on the left side her nose, slicing back some skin and even causing some bleeding in the back of the nasal cavity.

"I'll probably have two black eyes tomorrow," said King with a chuckle.

"I can taste the blood in the back of my mouth. Actually, I've fallen plenty of times before, but I can usually get something down to break my fall.''

Even though King has laid a lot of hurt on her opposition over the years ... "I've never had an injury from curling before," she said.

Over the years, King has garnered a reputation as a tough scrapper along the playdowns trail.

This year is no different in a province that boasts six of the top Women's World Curling Tour teams.

In most of her seven previous Alberta wins, there has been at least one higher-ranked Calgary-based team that's earned more Tour cash.

Chances are that either No. 3-ranked Cheryl Bernard or No. 4-ranked Shannon Kliebrink will be in Grande Prairie trying to unseat King.

That part is nothing new.

"It's a different kind of bonspiel playing in the provincial," said King.

"It's an entirely different season when you start the playdowns.

"You're not playing for money, but you still have to make all the shots.''

On the playdowns trail, King has been a money player.

"We had a couple of things in mind,'' said King.

"It's still a fairly new team and we have some unfinished business at the Scotts. That's our ultimate goal, but we have to win nine or 10 more games to get there.''

And steer clear of on-ice accidents.

BOUNCEBACK: Johnston gave herself another shot at a provincials berth when she won her B semifinal last night. Johnston faced Rhonda Skillen, who bounced Deb Santos to C in the other semi.

The women's northerns wrap up with the C Event final at 2:30 this afternoon.

SCOTTISH DELIGHT: King's second Raylene Rocque got some good news from husband Marcel yesterday. Marcel plays lead for Randy Ferbey, whose team is playing in a cashspiel at Perth, Scotland.

"Marcel called just before we stepped out on the ice and told me they qualified out of A,'' said Rocque.

The Ferbey Four beat Wayne Middaugh and Olympic gold medallist Brad Gushue and are undefeated going into today's playoff round.


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